Helping Fort Bend’s Children with Shannan Stavinoha
We’re joined by Shannan Stavinoha, the Executive Director of Parks Youth Ranch, to discuss her extensive volunteer and development experience in the Fort Bend community. After beginning her career in finance, Shannan soon realized her calling really was to serve, and her areas of focus over the years have been on helping children and developmentally disabled adults receive the essential services and support they need to survive and thrive.
In this episode, Shannan, Aimee, and Emily discuss:
- Transitioning from the financial services industry to development and volunteer work
- Hearing the call to return to Fort Bend and help her community time and time again
- Advocating for children and disabled adults through her personal and professional life
- Embracing her role in Parks Youth Ranch
- Understanding and identifying needs in our community
Taking the first step to be a part of something bigger
Shannan has strong ties to the Fort Bend community, with parents who taught at local schools and a husband whose family has been in the area for generations, but her initial career goals weren’t centered around here. Instead, Shannan began her career in financial services, later realizing that what she enjoyed actually included being involved with helping others and supporting community initiatives and missions through fundraising.
“I fell in love with the mission, I fell in love with serving the community.”
Understanding community needs and diverse situations
With the prosperous areas of Fort Bend often being highlighted most, it’s important to Shannan for us and our listeners to understand that many of our neighbors in Fort Bend still struggle with poverty, abuse, trauma, disability, and a lack of resources. Through her work with organizations like Child Advocates of Fort Bend and Richmond State Supported Living Center, Shannan strives to make a difference so these issues can be addressed.
“People don’t realize that these things exist in Fort Bend county, but we’re so blessed in being able to serve.”
Seeing the need behind the behavior
A great deal of Shannan’s work, especially now that she works with Parks Youth Ranch, centers around helping the children of Fort Bend receive the support and services that they need. Her passion for this mission has always existed, but it became especially prevalent when advocating for one of her own children to receive necessary help and accommodations for his ADHD and dyslexia in the classroom.
“You have to be there. You have to be present to make sure that the services and the supports are there, not just for your child, but for every child.”
Individualizing the approach at Parks Youth Ranch
As an emergency youth shelter, Parks Youth Ranch serves an invaluable purpose in our Fort Bend community, providing children ages 7 through 17 with protection and privacy during some of the most traumatic events and circumstances anyone could go through. For Shannan, her work as Executive Director feels so important because she is able to share a safe space where children and young adults can receive individualized care beyond what a normal shelter or foster care system may be able to provide.
“The goal here is for kids to be able to get here and take a deep breath.”
Find out more about Shannan and Parks Youth Ranch on their website.
Additional resources to check out: Judge Jodie Stavinoha Bridge, Holy Rosary Catholic School, Child Advocates of Fort Bend, Central Fort Bend Chamber, Richmond State Supported Living Center Facebook and website, Parks Youth Ranch Go Fish 2022, PYR Friends, Fort Bend TBRI Collective, Truth Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)